austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

With every move he makes

The Perils Of Pauline Episode Three, ``The Leopard Leaps'', opens with the discovery that Pauline is not dead.

The storm abates, just in time for Pauline, Dr Hargraves, and their party to secure the ship, and the captain --- who'd worked with Warde on the railroad in some capacity --- is glad to take them on as passengers because, I don't know. They'll pay. The promise of keeping Dr Bashan captive, though, doesn't even last long enough to be broken; he's out and about and prowling on his own by the next scene.

So somewhere in Sarawak, Warde runs across more Malay natives who'd worked for him in China, and they set off up the long rivers to find the other half of the disc. Meanwhile, Bashan has strolled off the boat, into some dashing white suits, and he's not just got native bearers but he's got them putting him on elevated chairs to haul him around.

Warde is worried that the press of time forced them to hire ``an indiscriminate crew'', and Hargraves talks about how hesitant the locals seem to deal with the white man. Intermixed with the stock footage of orang utans and local villages and so on are warnings about how the rowers might not react well if attacked, so, we don't have to worry about waiting for an attack.

Here I should introduce Willie Dodge. He's the designated comic relief, and he's had a role in each short being cowardly and wanting to run and hide, and being insulted for his continued belief that, like, being in the middle of the Revolution is distinctly unhealthy and they should maybe be somewhere else. Mercifully, he's played by a white guy, so he comes across just as ``Mike, the comic relief guy is making me very nervous'' instead of something really uncomfortable. But here's the thing: he's C-3PO. Seriously. He has the stiff moves, the fussy way of speaking, and the desire to run and hide under the bed that would make C-3PO such a great part of Star Wars. He's less effective, since the writing is duller, and he's more cowardly --- you need the comic relief to have some heft to him --- but, boy, if he wasn't one of the inspirations for C-3PO then this is an uncanny moment of precognition.

Anyway, Dodge is all scared about where they're going to sleep while on the boat, sailing upriver in the jungle as they are. Pauline gets inside the little hut, but the men, plus Dodge, are left outside and he's teased for wanting shelter. He's hardly a fool, though; later on, one of Bashan's minions, Fang, really that's his name, comes prowling around the boat, only to be spooked off by the shadow of a snake, and after that Pauline wakes up, prowls around, and gets attacked by a jaguar, our cliffhanger.

Trivia: Lee De Forest recorded making his first ``talking movie'' (of himself) in his diary on 9 July 1921. The Speed of Sound, Scott Eyman.

Currently Reading: The Kid Of Coney Island: Fred Thompson And The Rise Of American Amusements, Woody Register.

Tags: movies, perils of pauline, serials

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